The Ogallala Road– A Memoir of Love and Reckoning
By Julene Bair
Viking, hardback, 278 pp, $26.95, ISBN-13: 978-0670786046
Reviewed by Annie Dawid
On a boulder-strewn hill behind the cabin, pink barrel cactuses fended off would-be moochers with whorls of bright-pink spines, and in the gorge between that hill and the cabin, water trickled. The pools were too tiny to immerse myself in, but a mile upstream stood a windmill beside a six-foot-tall stock-water storage tank where I could go swimming! Well, dunking anyway.
The above is a sample moment Julene Bair describes in her love story/ecology tutorial/memorial to her Kansas family farm, The Ogallala Road. As a young woman she spends months alone in the Mojave Desert, appreciating every particle of color, light, and, especially, water. With humor, grace, and hard-won wisdom, Bair tells her story of life on the Western Kansas high plains as the child of a farming family, and her subsequent travelogue through many landscapes of adulthood, landing her, finally, here in Colorado.